Once touted as a solution to Detroit's public school woes, charter high schools are often doing just about as poorly — and in many cases worse — at educating students and getting them ready for college, a Detroit News analysis of recent test data shows.
Of 25 charters in Detroit or nearby, only six had higher math or science proficiency scores than Detroit Public Schools' average on the most recent Michigan Merit Exam, with most of the others doing worse than the district.
More charters did poorer in reading and writing as well; only in social studies did more charters surpass rather than trail DPS.
The results raise questions about the district's plans to authorize additional charters in its search for improvement and could also renew the debate over whether charters are the answer to the riddle of urban education, where multiple strategies are often producing the same poor results...
One of the largest nationwide charter-schools studies found that nearly half of charter schools do as well as the local public school; more than a third did worse, and just 17 percent did better...
Concerns about the quality of the DPS schools and student safety have caused tens of thousands of parents to choose charter schools or leave the city altogether in search of better educational opportunities. In the past decade, DPS has lost nearly 100,000 students as charter schools and suburban classrooms have swelled with the arrival of former DPS schoolchildren.
Charter schools remain an important part of the reforms proposed by the district, though plans to turn over dozens of schools to charter operators, proposed by former DPS Emergency Manager Robert Bobb, have been scaled back to five new charter schools authorized by DPS...
Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, said research in Michigan has shown charters routinely exceed DPS on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) tests given to children in grades three to nine.
But he said the relatively poor performance of high school students in charters raises questions. Quisenberry said students perform better the longer they are in charter schools and it's unclear how long the high school students have been in the charter school setting. "These numbers are important, and they should make us concerned," he said...
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Detroit charter high schools (test scores lower than DPS)
“Charter high schools in Detroit not making grade: Test scores for schools often trail DPS students' average.” Detroit News 7/7/11